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Sunday, December 7, 2008

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

Christmas is coming and we all want to capture some great photos of a beautiful Christmas tree,
of Christmas decoration, and we all want to capture our family and friend.
There are a lot of opportunities to photograph during Christmas like the opening of gifts that are filled with emotion,excitement especially for the kids.You can shoot great photos inside the house with your family or you can shoot great photos on the outside,because the Christmas lights and decoration are great.You just need to be prepare in both cases and here are some tips that will help you do that.
1.Prepare your photographic equipment-if you think you have it all,I advice you to check twice to be shure.
  • Pack your camera (goes without saying)
  • Charge your batteries and is better if you have two of them
  • Check your memory card and be sure you have one with a big memory or if possible keep two of them
  • Consider if there is enough light and if you will need a flash or no?
  • If you can bring a tripod with you and if you don't want to bring a big,heavy tripod you may use a mini tripod but you will definitely need one
2.Know The Location- It is important to realize that wherever the holiday celebration takes place, If possible, prior to the event...if not take a walk and choose the best places where you can shoot from.So you learn what kind of light is there,what kind of white balance to use,and what other camera setting to use.
3.Always shoot in RAW-As any other kind of photography is better to shoot in RAW format so you can make changes later on some elements of your photos.But also you have to try shooting the better you can because some thing you can not change like a bad background,blur on your subject face etc...
4.White balance-Is very important to have the right white balance when photographing on Christmas.If you aren't sure you can set it to automatic white balance or if your camera allows you ,shoot in RAW so you can make changes later.
5.Flash light or light diffusion-Sometimes we see some photos with a harsh light that causes the photo to loose details,
so is better not to use flash but use the night mode setting on your camera or a slow Shutter Speed(in this case you will definitely need a good tripod).Or if you can to use a external flash and try bouncing it off walls or the ceiling.
6.Macro Shooting-Some of digital cameras have a preset option of macro or if yours doesn't have it,use a large aperture (low F-stop) when shooting non-people subjects like ornaments on the tree, table decorations, sweets in the bowl on the table, a nativity scene on the mantle piece, holly above the doorway - sometimes it’s these small things around your party that are the real ‘money shots’.
7.Be careful on your background-So when you shoot your family or friend portraits or Christmas decoration you don't have nothing on the background that distracts the viewer from the subject like columns, fixed objects, plants,etc...If the background is good use it,if not maximize your depth of field (smallest possible F-stop) to blur the background.
8.Make a list of Christmas pictures you must have-As we are distracted from the party and excitement most of the time we dont remember all great shoots we wanted to take during the celebration,so if you have a pocket list you can check it whenever you want and remember everything.
9.Shoot as much as you can of "non-people" photos before anyone arrives-Sometimes we want to take some pictures of the ornament during Christmas but we cant because of the chaos that people cause.Some tips on what to shoot are:Capture the preparation stages like:Food preparation
  • Putting up decorations
  • Wrapping gifts
  • Kids throwing a tantrum while getting dressed in their Christmas outfits
  • Setting the table
  • Ornaments-Is better to use a large aperture(low f-stop) so you blur all the background.

You can play with color, lights, and shades in the background to contrast and set up the subject of the Christmas photo.An overlooked technique in Christmas pictures is to use a spherical reflective surface to act as a convex mirror and show everything behind the photographer.
If you look carefully at this ornament, you can see much of the room in front of the ornament.
Play with your macro camera setting to focus very close in on the ornament, thus creating a fish-eye view Christmas picture.
10.Shoot in Continuous Mode the opening of the gifts-You need to shoot on continuous mode if you want to take all the face expressions of your family and friends as they can be very cute,especially if kids are present.Some of them will show joy or occasionally disappointment but you want to have anyone of them.Take as much photos as you can and don't delete anyone of them during the celebration as you will have enough time later to do that.
11.Focus on your subjects and fill the frame-often we find our self with some Christmas photo taken from a big distance and with a lot of space around us,that the viewer can't define our face.So when you shoot be sure to fill your frame by using optic zoom,or if your camera does not allow you you can move in closer.Also to get a good photograph, remember to place the subject off center. Move the camera a little to the side so your subject is placed off center.
12.Portraits and Groups Shots- For portraits and groups shots, pick a location. Feel free to set up a location for your group shots. Props such as a tree or packages will enhance the Christmas theme. Pick a location with an uncluttered background. Take your time arranging your subjects and try to keep to as few rows as possible.
To get yourself in the photograph, use a self-timer.
13.Shoot on every oportunity you have-Christmas carols services, houses covered in Christmas decorations, shopping malls filled with busyness etc. Get out there with your camera and capture it. What a wonderful time of year to practice using your camera.
14.Christmas lights-They must be an important subject of your Christmas photo album and you have to try your best on shooting them as they will reveal to be the best picture you will take.But keep in mind that this is not as simple as it seems,so we are going to talk about this in another article.
15.Injoy and have fun.
Oh I almost forgot...
Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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